By Derek Holtom
MJHL Web Correspondent
By now, most hockey fans are aware that the Western Hockey League is returning to Winnipeg. The Kootenay Ice franchise is being relocated by Winnipeg owners Greg Fettes and Matt Cockell (former goaltender with the Winnipeg South Blues). Packaged in the move, was the announcement that the group had made an offer to purchase the Winnipeg Blues.
Former Blues’ GM/Head Coach Don MacGillivray says this is good news for the franchise.
“I think it’s really great for the Winnipeg Blues, and for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League,” said MacGillivray, who is currently an assistant coach with the Brandon Wheat Kings, whose head coach is another MJHL alumni, David Anning (Winnipeg Saints/Dauphin Kings).
MacGillivray once coached the Blues to a MJHL championship, and his son Joel also recently graduated from the team. He says having his former team in a stable situation is great for junior hockey in the province.
“The Blues have a lot of history, and a lot of people put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into that operation, and to see it die would have been really sad.”
“It’s a great day for the Blues’ organization.”
Winnipeg housed four junior A teams for many years – the Winnipeg Blues, the Kildonan North Stars, the St. James Canadians, and the Winnipeg Saints. All but the Blues have moved on, and there’s little doubt it’s important to the MJHL to have the Blues remain in the provincial capital. With the Winnipeg Ice owners also purchasing the Blues, that future seems very secure moving forward.